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Thread: Honeymoon travel agents...?

  1. #1
    Super Senior Member FutureMrsMilligan's Avatar
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    Default Honeymoon travel agents...?

    I have asked several travel agents for quotes for our dream honeymoon. They have now all got back to me and I'm really surprised that there is less than 50 difference between most of the quotes. I'm wondering how I should choose who to go with - do any of you lovely brides / brides-to-be have any recommendations or disaster stories about any of these travel agents??? Or any ideas how I choose who to book with?!

    NotJustTravel.co.uk
    HolidaysPlease.co.uk
    LittleLuxuryIslands.co.uk
    Kuoni
    Travelbag
    Virgin (not impressed with them already as the quote didn't reflect what I'd asked for, so I think I've ruled them out already!)

    Any tips would be much appreciated! xxx

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    Why not go back to each of them and negotiate a better deal or any upgrades? I'm sure they all want your business so use them to your advantage and see if you can play them off each other!

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    Platinum Member MrsForchtobe's Avatar
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    We looked at Kuoni but went with travel designers who are one of their agents but cheaper, think we got it for over 100 cheaper. I don't have any experience with the others but agree with the above - try and play them off against each other to your advantage!

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    As a Travel Agent myself specialising in some very personalised Honeymoons I don't really feel this is the way to go. When you have 50 between the quotes I would say you should consider a number of things; 1) What kind of Financial protection does the company offer - ie do they have ATOL? 2) And even if they do are they using different suppliers and therefore putting the owness on the suppliers to cover you if one of the elements you are booking go out of business? 3) And very importantly, what kind of service are you getting? This is really important as you want your Honeymoon to be 'looked after'. Will they be there for you 24/7 and if something happens to go wrong when you are away, are they a call centre and you will never find the same person who sold your Honeymoon again? There's no point in saving 50 or 100 on a 5k or 10k Honeymoon if you don't have someone there for you if you need them. If you have a good agent they should help sort out out trips you might want to do prior to your departure if you want that. They will try and get you an upgrade, and any other Bridal extras that might be available. They will even aim to make restaurant bookings for you if you would like that... and so much more! Does your agent have a Bridal Registry that allows your guests and family to contribure to your Honeymoon... etc.
    A lot of the time if you are getting quotes the agents you are dealing with would ask your name, I once had a customer ask me for quotes and I worked for weeks to find an amazing trip only for the customer to go direct to the company I was using to try and get it cheaper for this particular trip and the company called me to let me know as we have a very good working relationship with them.
    Saying all this, if someone prefers to do this they can! But I think it's much better to look to book with someone who is going to look after you, after all it's a really special trip and should be based on the dream rather than saving a small amount - obviously if there are
    100's in it then you may want to question why that would be the case with the agent. I know I try and work as best as I can to give a really good service and yet still try to keep within the customers budget as best as possible as this is really important too. I hope this helps and throws a bit of a different light on it!
    Last edited by Travel Counsellors; 28-09-2013 at 09:58 PM.

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    Super Senior Member FutureMrsMilligan's Avatar
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    That's really helpful - thanks Travel Counsellors! xx

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    Quote Originally Posted by FutureMrsMilligan View Post
    That's really helpful - thanks Travel Counsellors! xx
    You're welcome!!

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    Senior Member Rhona30's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travel Counsellors View Post
    A lot of the time if you are getting quotes the agents you are dealing with would ask your name, I once had a customer ask me for quotes and I worked for weeks to find an amazing trip only for the customer to go direct to the company I was using to try and get it cheaper for this particular trip and the company called me to let me know as we have a very good working relationship with them.
    I can understand why this would annoy you if you had spent a lot of time on an itinerary but surely it makes sense to check a few other comapnies to see if you can save some money?

    I got a quote from a girl in Barrhead travel for an itinerary then decided I wanted to change it so I contacted her to give me a price for a new itinerary but she was on holidays and no one else seemed too bothered to help so I went to Trailfinders who have been brilliant and they also offer a really good honeymoon fund scheme.

    FutureMrsMilligan - I would definitely suggest Trailfinders, great service and price.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhona30 View Post
    I can understand why this would annoy you if you had spent a lot of time on an itinerary but surely it makes sense to check a few other comapnies to see if you can save some money?

    I got a quote from a girl in Barrhead travel for an itinerary then decided I wanted to change it so I contacted her to give me a price for a new itinerary but she was on holidays and no one else seemed too bothered to help so I went to Trailfinders who have been brilliant and they also offer a really good honeymoon fund scheme.

    FutureMrsMilligan - I would definitely suggest Trailfinders, great service and price.
    I agree I would have done the same if I had gone to an agent and the others didn't care to help because their colleague was on holiday. Their loss.

    Of course, if you have decided on what you want then it makes sense to shop around. But I have had some (thankfully very few) customers come to me and have me work for weeks on their trips and went off and price matched each one through various agents until they got the cheapest. One customer booked with one of those agents that had saved 100 but offered no protection and had booked all the elements separately through different suppliers, one of the suppliers went bust and she had problems with the agent who wouldn't help her. She then came back to me for advice!! She lost around 500 through that problem. It's fine to shop around if you know where you want to go and have done your research but unfair to get an agent to spend days researching for you and finding an amazing trip tailored to you and then go off with that info trying to save a few pounds. Sadly it does happen though. Travel agents are not the best paid workers in business and do it as much for the passion.
    It's not always an easy job being a Trave Agent! I love my job but it can be really disheartening when this happens and you have put your all into creating a dream trip and had even managed to get it well within the customers budget yet they still went off to price match anyway!! It's our perogative to book wherever we wish but it's nice to have some morals too!
    Last edited by Travel Counsellors; 29-09-2013 at 04:41 PM.

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    Senior Member Rhona30's Avatar
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    I understand how disheartening this must be and I hate admitting this but I would still shop around if you'd spent time looking at my trip.

    I'd feel bad about it mind you, but if I could save a few hundred quid by booking with, say, Trailfinders with the same itinerary then I'd go for it.

    At the end of the day, a few hundred quid is a few hundred quid.

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    Hi Rhona
    That's ok, I do appreciate your honesty.
    As I said I wouldn't mind my customer shopping around if they had had been looking at a trip they had researched and had known what they wanted in advance.
    But when I feel it's different is when the customer doesn't know where they want to go and I have to start from scratch to create it. I've got years of personal travelling experience where I picked up special tips on some amazing places. I tend to go the extra mile, really researching into unique and special places that are different, or else I have access to hundreds of suppliers that we have excellent relationships with so can generate some really great prices and give my customers a very personal service.

    What I am trying to say is that if I spend days doing this (and it can sometimes be working for hours at a time) sometimes a customer can take that work and walk into a travel agent and say can you get me a better price on this? Some agents will then sell to the customer and end up making 20 on the booking but they don't really care because their sales targets have been hit (however the company end up making a loss). This is how and why many small companies end up going out of business too. (Giving away a few trade secrets here!). But is can also mean that agent doesn't really care much about giving their customer personal service either. That is a transactional sale, not a relationship sale.

    Overall it's not great for the Travel Industry and if the company go down when their customers are on holiday then the customer can suffer too. I know because I have worked on the High Street for some of the large multiples and smaller independant agents before I decided to become a Travel Counsellor and have seen it happen.
    Many of my customers used to book online. Now they know and trust me and don't even bother trying now because they know I'll do everything I can to create a great trip for them and at the budget they give me. So they are happy not having to trawl the net or go in and out of Travel Agents who can often have high staff turnover as therefore may not even get the same agent twice.
    It's a bit like finding a good hairdresser that you can trust!!
    Anyway, I hope you find hearing about the 'other side' of things interesting!

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    Hi Merrick
    Please don't be worried, there's no need! It's all about using our discretion in things. Of course there is no reason why you shouldn't shop around. That is quite normal. What I am saying is, it isn't really right to use someone to spend days creating a really special personalised dream trip that is something unique to them and then take that around all the agents to play them off against each other. That's not the same thing as shopping around trying to get a good deal on say a fairly straightforward 2 centre Honeymoon that everyone can most likely offer, which is about finding the best price and who you feel can offer you the best service for your hard earned money.

    Of course someone may come to me looking for a holiday they want to price match and I can't always do it, but there are also many times a customer comes to me and I can get a better price than they had. So it works both ways. And I'm also a customer too and I shop around for things as much as the next person!! But as I say it's about being moral too!

    And as you say it's about trust. If you find someone who goes all out for you and you trust them I imagine the search would stop there if you were happy and they were giving you what you wanted. Believe me there are some who don't stop there, it's about saving that final 20 and that's more important than the trust sometimes. That's when it becomes disheartening!

    Please don't be put off shopping around. A Honeymoon is extremely important to get right and of course you want whats best, that's really important. It's not a snub if a customer doesn't book, for me I would feel I hadn't done enough for that person but if I know they went off somewhere else just to save another 20 or 50 rather than discuss it or let me know (not that it really happens very often I must say), I don't blame myself, I value myself too much I just look forward to the next customer that is happy with my service and trusts me to go the extra mile for them and enjoy the little extras I do and upgrades I go all out to try and arrange for them where I can when they didn't expect it. That's what makes the difference and perhaps that 20 or 50 saved wasn't really saved at all ;-) And when my customers are happy that's what makes my job worthwhile :-D I hope that makes what I meant a bit clearer! Mx

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